Having spent two weeks in Tahiti, then sailing on to Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, all of which are fabulous destinations to sail into and spend time, Bora Bora is in a class of its own. From the moment you raise the two famous peaks, spy the reef and hear the boom of the surf, the lush greenness and finally the translucence turquoise of the water in behind the reef, you are spellbound.
The following is an extract from my ebook 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise':
Making their goodbyes earlier in Raiatea, the arrangement is to meet up again in Tonga, if not before. Both ships are taking the same course, visiting Niue on the way, but with vhf having a range of twenty five or so miles only in the other boat, it will be difficult to keep in contact with their friends. Passing out of Raiatea, she had headed around the top end of Taaha Island, and looking in one of the 'Passes' our crew beheld one of the most wicked surfing breaks imaginable. Curling in at the point of the Passe, rising up onto the reef, the glassy black rollers boom onto the jagged coral, snow white spray leaping high. A few surfers are actually riding them, taking their life in hand every time they catch one of these monsters. Our crew could hear the whoop of the occasional surfer brave enough to try and ride it out, surviving.
|Twin peaks of Bora Bora|
Wafting up the companionway, a redolent whiff of fresh baking rouses him from his musing, and his thoughts turn to a more basic requirement - food.
'Insufferable glutton!' she taunts her captain. 'That's all you think about - filling your belly!'
There are few things more pleasurable than demolishing several hot buttered scones in the cockpit of a yacht on a fine breezy tropical afternoon, and washing them down with pure drinking water with a touch of lime, from the watermaker.
On to Bora Bora, our little ship cruising quietly now as the breeze moderates, notices an increasing number of glutinous floating objects gliding by. These are the jellyfish of the round, mushroom shaped, transparent type with four darker rings placed precisely in their centre. By the time our crew notice them they have multiplied to legion proportions and her bow is slicing through them, shoving them aside in their hundreds. They travel like this for some thirty minutes and during this time the animals are so thick that they have a deadening effect on the surface of the water, smoothing it down from a regular light to moderate breeze wavelet surface, to a gently undulating mass of these strange creatures.
How far they stretched away from our little ship on either side, they cannot tell, but taking into account the time it takes for her to sail through them, the shoal must number in the multi millions. Our crew wonder idly if these animals have any natural predator - maybe they are whale fodder, and because there are less whales now, the jellyfish has prospered. With this gummy carpet of living jelly heaving all around them, even though the breeze is still there, a kind of eerie stillness pervades the scene. She is ploughing through them at around five knots, but leaving no trail. Her cutwater shovels them aside and they slither along her sides, the full length of her hull, to immediately close up again as they pass under her stern.
The twin peaks of Bora Bora are climbing out of the forward horizon and the island is taking shape exactly as described in the pilot. Part of her captains' mind is always surprised at how the geographical features of a new destination, viewed for the first time, are a faithful replica of a printed or photographic description, as if there is the possibility of there being some change or difference, or that the cartographer got it wrong! And so there is this mild feeling of surprised satisfaction that the real thing matches the representation and it has been chronicled correctly. The leisurely approach of a sailing yacht enhances this feeling and gives our crew the opportunity to study this island jewel closely as they draw nearer. Bora Bora is known as 'The most beautiful', and from this distance it is shaping up to its reputation. James A Michener immortalised it in his 'Return to Paradise' with the following : 'I first saw it from an airplane. On the horizon there was a speck that became a tall, blunt mountain with cliffs dropping sheer into the sea. About the base of the mountain, narrow fingers of land shot out, forming magnificent bays, while about the whole was thrown a coral ring of absolute perfection, dotted with small motus on which palms grew. The lagoon was a crystal blue, the beaches were dazzling white, and ever on the outer reef the spray leapt mountainously into the air.'
|Bora Bora lagoon|
'Take the least line of resistance when offered'. She thinks, her captain concurring directly.
She judges it perfectly - no wind here - they hook on, her captain shuts down the engine and she settles to rest in this, another corner of paradise.
If you enjoyed reading this passage, you can read many more similar escapades in my ebook 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise'' downloadable from my website www.sailboat2adventure.com